Harford County's Humane Society Waives Adoption Fees Amid Overflow Of Dogs, Urges Community Support
HARFORD COUNTY - The Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC) is experiencing a familiar problem faced by animal shelters across the country: an overflow of dogs and not enough adopters. To alleviate the situation, HSHC is waiving adoption fees for dogs aged one year and older.
The Humane Society of Harford County is a non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of the approximately 2,500 animals that come through their doors each year. They rely entirely on tax-deductible donations, bequests, and event proceeds for their life-saving efforts.
"Dogs are staying in the shelter longer these days, which is stressful for the animals as well as the staff and volunteers who care for them," Bob Citrullo, HSHC's executive director, said. "More animals and longer stays also stress the shelter system because the longer they stay, the more they cost."
He added that economic uncertainties and rising inflation have made it difficult for many pet owners to continue caring for their pets. Increasingly, families are bringing their pets to the shelter because they can't afford the required veterinary care. This rising influx of pets has led HSHC to book surrender appointments as far out as August.
HSHC isn't just waiting for adoptions to free up space; they're actively working to help families retain their pets. The shelter operates a pet food pantry that has seen high demand recently. The shelves were emptied recently, leading the shelter to appeal for donations on social media.
"If you need to bring your pet to the shelter because you can't afford to feed him, talk to us first," Citrullo said. "We have a pet food pantry. If you need help correcting an undesirable behavior, our partner trainer, Mutt Magic Training, offers free consultations."
HSHC has also reinstated its Lonely Hearts Club for dogs in the shelter for four months or more. The program provides a package valued at $150, including a 32-lb. bag of dog food and a 3-month supply of flea, tick, and heart worm preventatives.
For those who cannot adopt, HSHC is also seeking foster parents who can provide a temporary home for a dog until a permanent one becomes available.
"We're getting creative and trying some new things," Citrullo said. One such initiative is the foster-to-adopt program. Families can foster a dog for a few weeks, and if they decide to adopt, that's great. If not, the shelter gains valuable information about the dog's behavior.
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